By Osmel Ramirez Alvarez
HAVANA TIMES – Earlier this month, in the first few days of October, there was an Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) meeting in Colorado, USA. Cubans had a space within this session to report the most recent human rights violations in our country, which go by the name of “Criminalization of social activists and journalists.”
The Cuban government did not send its own representatives, of course, avoiding attending events like these and forming part of the Inter-American system.
Pablo Diaz, director of Diario de Cuba, (the other online media platform I publish on) was given the floor and he took the voice of us journalists who suffer from repression in Cuba to this important conclave. Live testimonies were presented, as well as videos exposing these violations.
Not everyone who needed to go could make it because the Cuban government “regulates” (prohibits) our travel abroad to go and report the abuses we suffer. However, my testimony was present, along with the testimony of many esteemed colleagues and activists who all suffer repression.
Maybe some of you might pick up on a little exaggeration in my persistent complaints, especially if you compare my situation with that of many other Cubans who have suffered more abuse than me ten-fold and the events have unfortunately hardly been given any attention. Most of the time, appearing in a single article which isn’t repeated enough and immediately forgotten.
And they are right, I’m going to go too far until my final breath, reporting any human rights violation I personally experience or anyone else I learn about. The thing is I have a really high sense of civic duty, I am a Marti follower through and through and I rely on journalism to do this. Marti once said: “To witness a crime in silence is to commit it.” This is why remaining silent would make me morally complicit.
Some people tell me: “it could be worse”; “they might lock you up again or come up with one of those crimes they conjure up, of posing a danger to society or contempt for the authorities”; worse yet, some people have even come to believe that they might plant drugs or beef on me. I don’t know how far they will go but the truth is that we are taking a great risk. Being a journalist in Cuba is truly dangerous. A pen in a decent Cuban’s hand, who is committed to telling the truth, frightens them a lot more than a “batallion of soldiers”. They are afraid of the strength ideas have.
Where has the magical revolution of the poor and for the poor ended up? Any system of government that needs to violate its citizens’ human rights in order to defend itself, IS AUTOMATICALLY NO GOOD and defending it is a shameful and dishonest act.
This opportunity to denounce the criminalization of social activists and journalists is very important and it hasn’t had enough visibility, unfortunately. Sometimes, this is where we sin. We need to spread information, here, there and everywhere. It’s our only weapon for now in this holy crusade for the democratization of Cuba.